• Young US star breaks his duck, then wins again
  • Carlin 1-2 in feature race for Herta and Norris
  • Ricky Collard sees his championship lead reduced
SNETTERTON 9 AUGUST, 2015 – The Stars and Stripes were flying once again over former US airbase Snetterton this afternoon as 15-year-old American Colton Herta claimed not one but two Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula race victories.

The Californian claimed his first win of the season in this morning’s reverse-grid race and then led from pole to chequered flag in the afternoon live-televised feature race for a Carlin 1-2 ahead of his team-mate Lando Norris.

But it wasn’t a vintage day for championship leader Ricky Collard, who sees his points advantage over Norris cut to 10 after he finished sixth and ninth in respective races.

ROUND 17: HERTA HEALS THE HURT WITH SNETTERTON RACE VICTORY

Colton Herta, who yesterday spun away what could have been his maiden MSA Formula win, this morning redeemed himself with a level-headed drive to victory in Round 17 at Snetterton. There were no errors forthcoming today from the 15-year-old American – the youngest in the race – whose Carlin-prepared and Ford EcoBoost-powered car swept into the lead past Jack Barlow after three laps and held on in front to clinch the race by a 3.5-second margin.

Barlow, starting from the pole in the reverse-grid race by dint of his 10th place finish yesterday, led Herta and the rest away from the grid in his MBM-run machine and held on to top spot until they exited Murrays at the end of the third, whereafter he was unable to prevent Herta, who got a better exit from the corner, from accelerating past. Worse was to come for Jack: race officials deemed he had anticipated the start and hit him with a drive-through penalty.

Herta’s hopes of building an advantage where thwarted after contact between the cars of Ameya Vaidyanathan (JTR) and Ollie Pidgley (Richardson Racing) brought out the safety car while Vaidyanathan’s car was retrieved from where it had come to rest. Colton handled the restart perfectly with Barlow (yet to take his penalty) and Double R’s Tarun Reddy in pursuit. Sennan Fielding (JHR) managed to dislodge Dan Ticktum (Fortec) from fourth at the restart but faltered when he found some oil on the circuit before the end of the seventh lap, allowing Ticktum to repass.

Reddy erred at the restart, colliding with the rear of Barlow’s car – which earned the Indian a post-race reprimand – and then again on lap eight, when he spun at Palmer and lost three places. It was good news for Ticktum who, when Barlow peeled off to take his drive-through, was promoted to P2. Dan crossed the line three-and-a-half seconds behind Herta – an impressive result from 10th on the grid – with Fielding completing the podium.

Said winner Colton Herta, who pockets a £1000 Ford prize: “It was quite an upset yesterday but this makes up for it. I should have gotten a better start but I was right there and waiting to see if there would be a mistake, and there was, so I made my move. It’s so hard to pass here that really you need another driver to make a mistake to be able to get by. It’s nice to get my first win under my belt.”

Third, Sennan Fielding: “It was a good race – enjoyable after all the problems we had in testing and qualifying. I got Ticktum at the restart but there was oil down at Palmer and I had to run wide and it caught me out a little bit.”

One of the drives of the race came from Fortec man Toby Sowery, who started 11th on the grid and made steady progress to climb to eighth before the safety car and then gained two more slots on the restart lap at the expense of TRS Arden team-mates Enaam Ahmed and Ricky Collard. Reddy’s spin and Barlow’s drive-through promoted Toby to a season-best fourth at the line. Reddy placed fifth with Collard getting the jump on Ahmed at the restart to secure sixth.

Ahmed crossed the line seventh overall (and second Rookie). “I made a few mistakes at the restart which cost me a couple of places,” said Enaam, “but overall I am happy with the way things have gone for me at the start of the second half of the season. When you come to cars from karts, something needs to click and it seems to have done so…” Ahmed finished ahead of Carlin’s Lando Norris and Jack Butel (JHR), whose ninth place was the best of his season so far. Josh Smith (Fortec) passed Petru Florescu (Carlin) on the final lap to complete the overall top 10 and the Rookie class podium.

Rafa Martins (SWB) and Dan Baybutt (JTR) finished in line astern for 12th and 13th with Louise Richardson (Richardson Racing) recovering well from a third-lap spin to take 14th, just ahead of Darius Karbaley’s Falcon car and JTR’s James Pull, who started from the back after a five-place grid penalty following contact in race one. Jessica Hawkins maintained her 100 per cent finish rate for the Falcon team with 17th, ahead of the penalised Barlow and Pidgley, who visited the pits for repairs after his contact with Vaidyanathan.

Double R’s Matheus Leist and TRS Arden man Sandy Mitchell both suffered mechanical issues and failed to finish.

ROUND 18: WIN NUMBER TWO FOR HERTA AND A CARLIN 1-2 IN SNETTERTON FINALE
Colton Herta delivered another inch-prefect performance at Snetterton this afternoon to add a second MSA Formula win to his racing CV. This time the 15-year-old Californian took the lead with a rocketship getaway from pole position ahead of his Carlin team-mate Lando Norris and never looked in danger of coming under serious threat.

Herta’s Ford EcoBoost-powered machine led all the way and crossed the line 2.5s clear of his pursuer, with Fortec’s Dan Ticktum close behind for third.

If Herta had any nerves about starting from the pole resulting from his spin from the lead in yesterday’s Snetterton opener, he did not show them. Colton said after his podium celebrations, and collecting the Ford £1000 winner’s cheque, that he hoped his season had now turned a corner: “I think we’ll do well from now on. I thought we had the speed coming here and so it has proved, and all thanks to Carlin for giving me a great car.”

Norris chased for all he was worth, with Herta unable to extend his advantage beyond 1.5s until the closing laps, but Lando knew he would have to rely on an error from his team-mate if he was to find a way past. “It’s a bit better than yesterday,” said Lando, “because I finished second and not third, but it was a hard race. I just about kept Dan behind but I struggled a bit while Colton has done a great job all weekend. We have a few things to work on before Knockhill.”

Norris came under attack from Ticktum around Riches and Montreal on the opening lap but managed to repulse the move. Thereafter Ticktum was unable to challenge Norris but nonetheless collected his third podium of the Snetterton weekend, and a Rookie class hat-trick. Behind him, the runners in fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh held their position from the first lap to the last, Sennan Fielding (JHR) leading home Petru Florescu (Carlin), Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Enaam Ahmed (TRS Arden).

Championship leader Ricky Collard started from the very back of the grid after technical problems in qualifying and set about the task of clawing his way through the order with typical gusto. Ricky made it into the top nine by lap five but Jack Barlow (MBM) proved immovable from eighth position despite a concerted last-lap attack from Collard. Ricky went to Snetterton with a 25-point championship lead over Norris; he leaves Norfolk with his advantage cut to just 10.

Rafa Martins’ hard work over the weekend paid off with a 10th-place finish for SWB Motorsport, with Jessica Hawkins 11th for Falcon Motorsport and her best finish of the season. JTR drivers Dan Baybutt and James Pull were next up, with Richardson Racing duo Louise Richardson and Ollie Pidgley completing the top 15.

Fortec had one car at the sharp end and two at the rear – Josh Smith 19th after a pit visit with mechanical woes and Toby Sowery retiring with fuel pressure issues. Sandy Mitchell was another pit-caller, with throttle problems, the Scotsman continuing to 20th. Poor Matheus Leist failed to make the grid, his Double R car suffering engine trouble immediately pre-race.

MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost
Provisional results Snetterton 9 August 2015

Round 17: 10 laps / 29.69 miles
1 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 21m 06.852s / 84.36mph
2 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +3.545s
3 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +3.740s
4 Toby SOWERY / GBR / Fortec +5.666s
5 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +5.825s
6 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +6.775s
7 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +7.367s
8 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +8.602s
9 Jack BUTEL / GBR / JHR +12.032s
10 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec +12.275s etc
Fastest lap Ticktum 1m 52.807s / 94.74mph

Rookie class 1 Ticktum; 2 Ahmed; 3 Smith; 4 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin; 5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB; 6 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR; 7 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon

Round 18: 11 laps / 32.66 miles
1 HERTA 20m 54.341s / 93.72mph
2 NORRIS +2.462s
3 TICKTUM +2.798s
4 FIELDING +8.165s
5 FLORESCU +8.691s
6 REDDY +11.339s
7 AHMED +17.376s
8 Jack BARLOW / GBR / MBM +22.917s
9 COLLARD +23.079s
10 MARTINS +27.146s etc
Fastest lap Herta 1m 52.879s / 94.68mph

Rookie class 1 Ticktum; 2 Florescu; 3 Ahmed; 4 Martins; 5 Baybutt; 6 Karbaley; 7 Vaidyanathan; 8 Smith; 9 Mitchell

Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 244 points; 2 Norris 234; 3 Ticktum 208; 4 Fielding 178; 5 Matheus Leist 168; 6 Herta 160; 7 Mitchell 107; 8 James Pull 89; 9 Reddy 79; 10 Barlow 72 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 320; 2 Baybutt 224; 3 Florescu 221; 4 Mitchell 218; 5 Ahmed 210 etc